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Business Research Resources for "Non-Business-y" Types: Industries

An accompanying guide to the Enriching Scholarship presentation of the same name:

Get Started Quick!

Company & Industry Ratios

Ratios can often provide a nice benchmark--especially useful when dealing with smaller, private companies.  Here's where you can find some:

Industry Research Databases


Industry-Specific Databases

Industry Research Tips

First:  Define your industry:

  • If you're looking at the "beauty" industry, does that mean make-up/cosmetics?  Or does it also including shampoos and soaps, etc.?  Does the underwear industry include lingerie?  Long underwear?  Men's?  Women's?
  • Not every database covers every industry--search multiple sources and be willing to look for related or broader categories.  Remember that the more granular or 'niche-y' you get, the more difficult it will be to find information.
    • The answer may not even be in a database

Remember to ask yourself "Who cares?"

  • Google industry keywords and add in terms like "association" or "organization" and see what comes up.
  • Try to identify library guides from other institutions (or your own!) by Googling industry keywords and adding in terms like "library" and "guide" and limit to
    • Do an article search on industry keywords and be on the lookout for references to sources of data.
      •   Similarly, you can do a Google Scholar search on your industry keywords and look for data sources.

    Industry classification systems, like NAICS and SIC, are just one tool to utilize when researching industries.  For correspondance tables between NAICS and SIC, see